Because writer/director Rachel Jury and composer Andrew Cruikshank's homage to London's legendary lesbian nightclub, The Gateways, reveals a clandestine world where standing proud and defiant was everything. In the 1950s, before gay bars and discos broke cover, the King's Road basement club was the only fun in town, be it for sharp-suited women, Chelsea bohemians or the assorted movie stars who frequented its smoky interior.
Utilising a mammoth 25-strong cast that includes singer/song-writer Lorna Brooks and politician Rosie Kane, plus a four-piece band led by Cruikshank on double bass, Jury and co have attempted to capture the speak-easy hedonism of The Gates via a loose-knit narrative involving gangsters, their molls and a love that finally does dare speak its name. The central affair revolves around Jo, one of the club's regulars, and Judy, the blonde appendage of gang leader Chelsea Charlie. With dialogue at a minimum, their story is told primarily through a series of rousing jazz-tinged numbers, with Seweryna Aga Dudzinkska as Jo and Jennifer Dempster as Judy on particularly fine voice.
If Jo and Judy's doomed love story is as old-fashioned as in any other period musical, The Gates is also a show about a hidden community that existed underground out of necessity. Glasgow audiences can check this out for themselves when The Gates moves into the Classic Grand for its Glasgay! run next week.